Monday, August 18, 2008

Say A Little Prayer...

I've posted about this before and, yes, it's a pretty personal topic that not everyone would be comfortable discussing publicly, but hey - I'm NOT everyone. I'm the crazy lady in Wisconsin known as the Average Everyday Super Woman. So I'm going to discuss my personal crisis publicly. Again.

Remember when I had that pesky little first-ever abnormal Pap smear last summer (July of '07), and then I had to have a cervical biopsy (colposcopy) done in August of '07 to make sure that the abnormal cells were not cancerous cells? And everything came back normal then? OK, good - then I won't go into all of that detail again here.

Well, after that, I had to have follow-up Paps every four months. At the December follow-up, the Pap came back abnormal again, but my doctor and I weren't too terribly alarmed, because the biopsy had just checked out fine four months earlier. So we opted to do a "wait-and-see."

At the April follow-up, I got some great news: That Pap was normal! Hoorah!!

I (mistakenly) thought that my days of abnormal Pap smears were behind me and that my awesome body had kicked whatever-was-going-on-in-there's ass and we were all moving forward, healthy and happy.

And I was wrong.

I went back for another four-month follow-up Pap in late July, the timing of which happened to coincide with my annual Pap. And instead of the "normal" result I was fully anticipating, it came back abnormal again.

And this time, my OB/GYN doesn't want to just "wait-and-see." She wants to do two more procedures - an endocervical curettage and an endometrial biopsy - to check further for cervical or endometrial/uterine cancer, since the abnormality that I keep producing is pretty rare, accounting for only 1% of all abnormal Pap results: atypical glandular cells of unknown significance, or ACGUS.

Lucky me, AGCUS findings seem to be associated with a higher risk of cancer, which is why it's acted upon with more urgency and testing than the far more common and less worrisome ASCUS (atypical squamous cells of unknown significance).

Yeah.

So, I'm having those procedures done tomorrow. And I'm scared.

Now, I'm the first one to admit that I come from a long and robust line of worriers, and my nurse practitioner Super Sister will also happily tell you that I'm without a doubt THE biggest hypochondriac in my family. HOWEVER, I tend to have pretty good gut instincts about certain things, and my health is one of them.

Of the many times a red flag has gone up in my head about something going on with my body, I've actually been RIGHT to worry on more than one occasion. For the record, I've even managed to worry my unflappable nurse practitioner Super Sister on one occasion when the health scare could've been quite serious - but thankfully wasn't. So while I may have more "concerns" than the average everyday human, I've actually been rightfully worried on a few occasions. For the record.

For any of my readers who ever suffer from anxiety, you know what I'm saying when I tell you all that I have pretty much NO control over the fear that grips me at times like these when I feel that my life is potentially on the line. Nonetheless, I try to think very positive thoughts and to expect the best, but there's always that part of me behind the scenes that's still preparing for the worst.

Only it even goes beyond just "preparing" for it. No, I start imagining what it would be like to be told that I have cancer, and how I would react to the news. I imagine what it would be like to go through chemo, radiation, a hysterectomy - all at 34, when I still desperately want another child. And with my horrible fear of vomit and vomiting. I shudder to even imagine it...

And, yes, I also cannot stop my subconscious mind from horrifyingly traveling to "The Worst Case Scenario": Me dying and leaving behind my 5-year-old son. I start fretting over how I would prepare my baby for losing me, his mommy, the first and biggest love of his life to date. I imagine the desperate letters I would write him, trying to pour into them the essence of who I am and to communicate to him the indescribable and overwhelmingly wonderful impact he's had on my life. Trying to give him motherly advice for each phase of life he'd encounter without me, trying to assure him that I would never EVER leave him if I had the choice.

It's horrible, that fear and anxiety. I don't want to dwell on "The Worst Case Scenario," but as a mother and a young woman, how can I NOT?

Then again, luck favors the prepared, right? RIGHT??

{Deep breaths - ommmmmmmmm.... ommmmmmm......}

Right. So, please, please, PLEASE say a little prayer for old Super Woman tonight that the procedures go well and that the test results come back normal. It's one thing if I just have weird-looking cells, as long as they're still normal and healthy. And, hey, if you're not one to pray, then please send me good juju, good karma, whatever you've got. I happily accept all of it and hope that it's enough to move the universe to make me healthy and whole and good.

I don't think I ask for much in life, really. All that really matters is that I live. Live to see my son grow up and become a highly-functioning, happy, well-adjusted adult, at a minimum. That's all I ask.

Thank you in advance, universe.

3 comments:

  1. Dear Super Woman,

    I stumbled onto your blog while searching for someone else going through what I am. I'm having an endometrial biopsy near the end of September - and it seems FAR TOO LONG to wait, which is just sending my own anxiety through the roof!

    I too have gone through every scenario (can't help it) and even gone so far as to make a list of who I want to have my things should I end up in terminal uterine cancer and wonder whether my hairdresser can cut a wig to look like my own hair!

    I'm only 39 - been in menopause since age 34. Never been pregnant, nor given birth. (But have two amazing stepdaughters that I've been blessed with raising since they were infants.)I have a family history of other cancers.

    This all so blindsided me - went in for the annual pap, which was normal. This time she added an ultrasound and I could tell by the technician's face something she was seeing wasn't right. Two days later the doctor called (I wasn't surprised) and said the lining of my uterus was too thick, I need a biopsy to see what's going on.

    Of course I freaked and ran straight to the internet. I've read hundreds of pages looking for a different angle, but everything reads the same - I have all but one of the symptoms and more than half the risk factors for uterine cancer.

    Last week I'm totally fine - this week I'm worrying about chemo, radiation, vomitting, losing my job, how we will pay for the new house we just bought - and whether I'll even be here this time next year. It's like those rolling news headlines on the building in Time Square that just run and run and run. I can't think of anything else!

    So, Super Mom, you are not alone, and I am glad I found your post because you said every single thing I have been thinking - and I don't feel so alone now either.

    I am sending you prayers, juju and karma that you have normal results and all your worries are just that - worries with no reality.

    Good luck and take care,
    JK in OH

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  2. Wiggles/JK in OH - Thank you for posting about your situation, and please know that I am so sorry to hear that you're having a similar personal health crisis.

    I hope this isn't too personal a question, but have you ever been diagnosed with endometriosis? Did the ultrasound tech or your ob/gyn mention that as a possibility for why your uterine lining might be too thick? If it is endometriosis, I've heard that it can be a major nuisance and can cause other problems, but personally I'd take that diagnosis over cancer.

    I know this is some unsolicited and late advice, but my nurse practitioner Super Sister ALWAYS tells me NOT to do research on the Internet when I have health concerns because that information is never going to be the most accurate and up-to-date, and it's going to scare me more than help me. That said, I'm the QUEEN of researching my medical mysteries online, and have spent many a night lying awake after my late-night research sessions. :) Save yourself the heartache and unplug your computer, if you can. I know it's hard (believe me!), but try.

    I hope you'll update me on your endometrial biopsy results, JK. I will do the same here on my blog. And remember - you're not alone either! You'll be in my thoughts and prayers, too.

    Stay strong, sister!!
    Super Woman

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  3. You are in my thoughts and prayers. {[[HUGS}}}

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